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Whitehall property changes have boosted London, says Maude

By Vivienne Russell | 8 February 2013

London’s economy has received a £3.5bn boost because of better property management by Whitehall, Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said today.

He highlighted a study by property consultancy Knight Frank, which appraised the work of the Cabinet Office’s Efficiency and Reform Group at 16 properties in high-value central London locations. Many of these sites were outmoded and had been vacated by the civil service and taken over by other organisations for redevelopment.

Among the projects cited was the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills’ building at Kingsgate House in Victoria Street, which is being turned into a 15-storey residential building. The Land Registry’s headquarters at Lincoln’s Inn Fields is now occupied by the London School of Economics and at nearby Ludgate Hill, offices that were occupied by the Crown Prosecution Service are being demolished to make way for a 380,000 square foot office and retail development.

Maude said: ‘We’re determined to help boost the economy by reducing the cost of the public sector and allowing the private sector to flourish – Knight Frank’s analysis shows our work has reverberated through the property and construction sector to stimulate London’s economy and they suggest it’s given our capital a boost of over £3bn.’

James Leaver, head of public sector at Knight Frank, added that the government had been ‘working hard’ to reduce the size of its London estate.

‘Many of the buildings which have been exited were nearing the end of or beyond their economic life. They offered an uninspiring working environment for their occupants and were expensive to run,’ he said.

‘Government departments are now consolidating, primarily into core freeholds and more efficient modern buildings. The culture in government is changing and buildings are now being shared, often by more than one government department.’

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